4 June 2022
By Mary Bermingham
NDC Garden Wins Gold
The National Dairy Council is delighted to announce that it’s show garden has won Gold in the medium garden category at this year’s Bord Bia Bloom. Designed by Cork landscape designer Sean Russell, the National Dairy Council Sustainable Dairy Farm Garden resembles a traditional, old-style Irish country farm, complete with milk churns, dry stone walls, a mature grass clover pasture and an old open structured farm outhouse. Elements such as the bespoke metal furniture and a specially commissioned metal wire woven cow will make this a unique space.
Sean originally from Youghal spent months and weeks planning and building the garden, he said
“I’m really delighted to have won gold at Bloom this year. Its my first time to have designed a garden for the event so it’s even more special. I grew up on a dairy farm in Cork so I know instinctively the features that needed to be included and all the original salvaged farm props. The plants are all native to Ireland and we have used a lot of white clover, foxgloves and biodiversity to get across our sustainability messages within the garden”.
The garden is designed to emphasise the importance of grass-fed dairy animals in Ireland and the quality of milk which is produced. It allows the viewer to understand that the basic methods of milk production remain largely unchanged to the present day. Much of the material used in this garden can still be seen throughout the island of Ireland.
Irish dairy farmers are continuing to play a central role in protecting and improving our precious rural biodiversity, by planting native hedgerows and trees, offering pollinator patches for bees and wasps, and by protecting watercourses via the ASSAP (Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advisory Programme scheme). The Bloom Garden tells this story, explaining how Nitrogen is essential for plants and grasses to grow and develop and how Farmers must replenish nitrogen to ensure successful grass growth and to replace nitrogen removed in the harvested crop.
Sean has also used white clover in the garden as it naturally attracts and retains nitrogen from the atmosphere, making it available for plant growth.
Cathy Curran, Communications Manager NDC said of the garden “We are really excited to tell the dairy farm story to a largely urban audience at Bloom. There is still a disconnect between parlour to plate and we need to capture these opportunities to tell the dairy production story and the efforts being made by Irish farmers to reduce emissions and to farm more sustainably. Farmers’ actions throughout their farmland play a key role in maintaining and developing habitats and wildlife, whilst also reducing greenhouse gas emissions”.
Biodiversity plays a key role in sustainable farming and Ireland is proud of its natural, grass-based farming systems. Grassland accounts for 90% of the agricultural land area (DAFM, 2019), which forms a solid basis for supporting wildlife. Planting native trees and hedgerows such as whitethorn, holly, blackthorn, and gorse to increase wildlife value and natural habits. These also provide natural cover for wild birds.
As well as visiting the stunning garden, NDC is planning a number of events and panel discussions in the garden over the five days where people can come and listen to some interesting and thought-provoking talks:
**The NDC Sustainable Farm Garden has been kindly part funded by the EU Sustainable Milk Programme, Bord Bia and NDC.